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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Co-limitation towards lower latitudes shapes global forest diversity gradients

Liang, Jingjing; Gamarra, Javier G. P.; Picard, Nicolas; Zhou, Mo; Pijanowski, Bryan; Jacobs, Douglass F.; Reich, Peter B.; Crowther, Thomas W.; Nabuurs, Gert-Jan; De-Miguel, Sergio; Fang, Jingyun; Woodall, Christopher W.; Svenning, Jens-Christian; Jucker, Tommaso; Bastin, Jean-Francois; Wiser, Susan K.; Slik, Ferry; Herault, Bruno; Alberti, Giorgio; Keppel, Gunnar;
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The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is one of the most recognized global patterns of species richness exhibited across a wide range of taxa. Numerous hypotheses have been proposed in the past two centuries to explain LDG, but rigorous tests of the drivers of LDGs have been limited by a lack of high-quality global species richness data. Here we produce a high-resolution (0.025 degrees x 0.025 degrees) map of local tree species richness using a global forest inventory database with individual tree information and local biophysical characteristics from similar to 1.3 million sample plots. We then quantify drivers of local tree species richness patterns across latitudes. Generally, annual mean temperature was a dominant predictor of tree species richness, which is most consistent with the metabolic theory of biodiversity (MTB). However, MTB underestimated LDG in the tropics, where high species richness was also moderated by topographic, soil and anthropogenic factors operating at local scales. Given that local landscape variables operate synergistically with bioclimatic factors in shaping the global LDG pattern, we suggest that MTB be extended to account for co-limitation by subordinate drivers.

Published in

Nature ecology & evolution

Authors' information

Liang, Jingjing
Purdue University
Gamarra, Javier G. P.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Zhou, Mo
Purdue University
Pijanowski, Bryan
Purdue University West Lafayette Campus
Jacobs, Douglass F.
Purdue University West Lafayette Campus
Reich, Peter B.
Western Sydney University
Reich, Peter B.
University of Michigan
Reich, Peter B.
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Crowther, Thomas W.
ETH Zurich
Nabuurs, Gert-Jan
Wageningen University and Research
De-Miguel, Sergio
Universitat de Lleida
Fang, Jingyun
Peking University
Woodall, Christopher W.
United States Forest Service
Svenning, Jens-Christian
Aarhus University
Jucker, Tommaso
University of Bristol
Bastin, Jean-Francois
University of Liege
Wiser, Susan K.
Landcare Research - New Zealand
Herault, Bruno
Alberti, Giorgio
Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Alberti, Giorgio
Istituto per la BioEconomia (IBE-CNR)
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UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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